I am deeply committed to healing. It permeates and sustains my passion. It is reflected in all of my endeavors and creations. To be specific, I promote a holistic approach to wellness with an emphasis on emotional and spiritual health. This deep type of healing work is challenging – every person whose life I touch and encourage to be well is a reflection of me. I am constantly faced with my own shadows as I hold the safe space for others to face theirs. To be committed to healing humanity is intrinsically tied to being committed to healing myself. To be committed to healing, all of the things that I fear become signals of the deep work I do to myself so that I may help others work through theirs. The last 15 days of my life found me face to face with the deep terrors that laid within me – I am beside my self in gratitude for the opportunity to be so intimate with them.
I had known about Ayiti Resurrect since their first delegation in 2011. Ayiti Resurrect is a team of visionary artists, community builders, mental health specialists, and holistic healers with bloodlines in Haiti and the African Diaspora, working in collaboration with local Haitian organizations, to help address the psychological and spiritual healing of the survivors of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti. I was very interested in the project and remember wishing that one day I’d be able to join the work. A sister friend encouraged me to submit my bio after I told her about my wishes. She knew Naima Penniman, one of the core collective members, and sent me the information. I immediately sent her an email, and by mid-October received word that I was invited to join the 2012 delegation. I was beyond excited to be a part of this vision.
As I organized myself and my fundraising effort for the trip, fear gripped me. All my fears that laid dormant to a certain extent began to show themselves. The first one was my fears around finances. For much of my life, money has been a source of anxiety and stress. I especially feared and disliked asking people for money, even for a wonderful cause such as this. I felt like I didn’t deserve to receive money or be in an abundant flow of it. My stomach turned as I typed every word of my fundraising letter asking for donations. I would talk myself out of shutting down every single time I promoted my campaign and sent out mass emails about it. As the trip got closer, my fear of being a leader reared its head as doubts of my ability to facilitate a workshop in Ayiti spun in my head. I constantly asked myself, am I good enough? Do I know enough? Am I enough? I found myself worried about my safety while on the trip, realizing how embedded the myths of how dangerous our homelands are perceived to be in comparison to the rest of the world were in my psyche. I discovered how scared I was to come face to face with Vodun, and how afraid I have been my whole life of spirits and being in that world that my Catholic upbringing showed me to fear.
I packed all these fears with me in my suitcase. It was tough though. In the days right before the trip, I experienced my excitement wane and be replaced by uncertainty and feeling discouraged. Some of my family was not supportive of my choice to go do work in Ayiti. As Dominicans, their views of Ayiti colored their feelings about my trip – all the misconceptions of Haitian people, their demeanor and their spirituality was in the concerns they voiced to me. I was very sad and disappointed to hear the ways colonialism had influenced their perception of this great country. It began to get under my skin and made me feel discouraged and fearful of Ayiti, as their concerns played on my fear of spirits and the occult.
On the other side of the process I went through to get to Ayiti and what I experienced when I got there, the fears were simply that – fears. I found that being part of the delegation validated how valuable I am with my skills and knowledge of healing and intuition. I learned that Haitian people are a wonderful people and that the perception that Dominican people have of them (as well as the rest of the world) is completely skewed and false. My fear of the unknown turned out to be what would have held me back from experiencing my very first motorcycle ride through the countryside that led to a boat ride and jumping into the refreshing ocean waters of the Caribbean. My fear of water led me to surrendering and trusting enough to see Bassin-Bleu, an extraordinary waterfall in Jacmel, the southeast region of the country.
Darkness for many of us is equated with fear. This winter of going deeper within has brought me face to face with my fears in the midst of dreaming of who I want to be reborn as in the spring. I have looked at them and use them for my personal transformation. In these fears, there is the space for clearing them and creating a space for powerfully transform into who I am becoming in all my glory. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences with you over the coming days.